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Ideas to improve the standard of rugby in the NH

TRF_heineken

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I noticed this when I played in the UK, there was quite a difference in skill level between the Uk & Australia/NZ. Part of the reason is we play touch rugby as soon as we can walk and during summer most rugby guys play in competitive touch rugby comps. I play 3 times a week in summer. And touch is fantastic for ball skills, passing, learning to run certain lines, learning structured moves etc So you end up with 12, 13 year olds that have been playing touch for 5 years and can throw 20m bullet passes off both sides. I remember watching Tindall play a few times and he can't spin pass of his left! That's pretty poor for an international centre. I think NH teams also have a tendency to go for size (in the backs) rather than speed/skill. I think ever since Lomu burst onto the scene, teams have been trying to find their own Lomus. The big wing for England (Banahan?) - I have to admit I haven't watched him at club level, but when he has played for England he has been shithouse. Picked for his size and that's it. He's not quick or blessed with great skill and he's the kind of player England need to avoid. I think the NH teams are closer to the SH teams and that is because they have got better, but also (at the moment) both SA & Australia aren't at their best.

I have to agree with this.

In the Summer, over the December holidays, there's a Beach Touch Rugby tournament held at different towns throughout the holiday, and many Springboks go there to compete at some level. Last year Schalk Brits was also in the one team.

Even without those tournaments, if you walk on any beach in SA where there are a bunch of guys, they'd most definitely have a rugby ball with them and they will play Touch Rugby on a daily basis. It also keeps you fit during the off season...
 

Twebby

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Touch is gradually getting more popular in the UK. I play in a league during the summer (although I can't play full contact anymore!) and most of the local club sides put out teams alongside the more casual players.

I agree that it is fantastic for building up basic skills and fitness levels. Unfortunately I think a lot of people turn their nose up at it because of the lack of contact - some can't quite channel their aggression without the ability to tackle.
 

Kripke

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This thread was presumably started on the back of the june tests series which was admittedly a whitewash in favour of the SH but 7 out of the 9 tests were close. (sorry, Scotland aside)
If you take into account homeadvantage which is commonly seen as worth 7-10 points, we hardly embarassed ourselves.

However I'm not saying theres no difference in skills, just that I think its noticeable in the week in week out games of Super xv when you see just the average player with a v accomplished skillset, more so than in the international tours.

In general I think we in the north have been very slow to accept that forwards should be dynamic ball-carrying 'polymaths!' playing in a 15 man team. For me I equate the narrowing gap between north and south ( I think it is narrowing) to the rise of more dynamic 15 men teams rather than 7, and you now see props like Cian Healy and Alex Corbisiero who are worth their weight in gold around the field. But that process isn't complete, my team wasps still have useless guys like Tim Payne who are fat and rubbish. I just think it's taken the North too long to realise that forwards should be able to do more than just tackle and scrummage, and that having a beer belly as a professional athlete isn't acceptable anymore.
I know it goes broader than this, but I do think acceptance of the 15 man game is key.

There's no other real way to attribute the fact that northern props are grizzly scrummagers whereas southern props are both scrummagers and loose players, than to the fact that we place more importance on scrums in the north. Partly this has got to be down to the climate with pitches in the north leading to more attritional 'take the points when on offer' games. As a result we perhaps have not concentrated enough on all-round skillset that helps players thrive in open games on dry pitches.

Anyway, thats a pretty old agument, but I still think its valid enough.
 

Feicarsinn

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Touch is gradually getting more popular in the UK. I play in a league during the summer (although I can't play full contact anymore!) and most of the local club sides put out teams alongside the more casual players.

I agree that it is fantastic for building up basic skills and fitness levels. Unfortunately I think a lot of people turn their nose up at it because of the lack of contact - some can't quite channel their aggression without the ability to tackle.


I dislike touch. You can get the exact same benefits from 7's and it also helps the out at the tackling too.
 

dullonien

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Where is this North South divide coming from? Most peoples take on NH rugby seems to be solely looking at England's traditional style of play. From a Welsh perspective, we've always produced skilful backs and forwards, who are able to handle the ball well, but have ultimately come up short against the SH teams due to a lack of physicality. This is where we've improved under Gatland, and why we're so much more competitive against against the SANSAR nations. I don't think Wales can ever be accused of picking big players ahead of skilful players (well, Hansen did in '02-'03, but that's a different story). We just happen to have a bunch of very physical backs at the moment, but they are all the best options in their respective positions (Phillips aside).

Gethin Jenkins has been around for 10 years already, and he's still the ultimate mobile prop.

I don't think Ireland can be accused of a lack of skill either. France is traditionally all about flair, although they do produce som hard-nosed forwards. Scotland possible fit into the NH stereotype that seems to be building in this thread, as well as England who really do prioritize size over skill, especially at youth level.
 

admartian

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Where is this North South divide coming from? Most peoples take on NH rugby seems to be solely looking at England's traditional style of play. From a Welsh perspective, we've always produced skilful backs and forwards, who are able to handle the ball well, but have ultimately come up short against the SH teams due to a lack of physicality. This is where we've improved under Gatland, and why we're so much more competitive against against the SANSAR nations. I don't think Wales can ever be accused of picking big players ahead of skilful players (well, Hansen did in '02-'03, but that's a different story). We just happen to have a bunch of very physical backs at the moment, but they are all the best options in their respective positions (Phillips aside).

Gethin Jenkins has been around for 10 years already, and he's still the ultimate mobile prop.

I don't think Ireland can be accused of a lack of skill either. France is traditionally all about flair, although they do produce som hard-nosed forwards. Scotland possible fit into the NH stereotype that seems to be building in this thread, as well as England who really do prioritize size over skill, especially at youth level.
I think you may be right. I think Wales and France are definitely front-runners in regards to a more open style of play. With England and Scotland being the worst culprits at the forceback style.

THough I think NH sides are more prone to "give up" the open style and resort to kicking when things aren't necessarily going their way. Not a bad thing, all I'm saying is that they're not always persistent at it.
 

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Where is this North South divide coming from? Most peoples take on NH rugby seems to be solely looking at England's traditional style of play. From a Welsh perspective, we've always produced skilful backs and forwards, who are able to handle the ball well, but have ultimately come up short against the SH teams due to a lack of physicality. This is where we've improved under Gatland, and why we're so much more competitive against against the SANSAR nations. I don't think Wales can ever be accused of picking big players ahead of skilful players (well, Hansen did in '02-'03, but that's a different story). We just happen to have a bunch of very physical backs at the moment, but they are all the best options in their respective positions (Phillips aside).Gethin Jenkins has been around for 10 years already, and he's still the ultimate mobile prop.I don't think Ireland can be accused of a lack of skill either. France is traditionally all about flair, although they do produce som hard-nosed forwards. Scotland possible fit into the NH stereotype that seems to be building in this thread, as well as England who really do prioritize size over skill, especially at youth level.
Throwing the ball around is not skill. Anyone can do that.
 

kovana

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TBH, i dont care what tactics a team uses.. As long as they do it correctly.

Teams that like to kick the ball with Up and Unders like Saffas in 2009... Do the right thiing and CHASE THE Ball to contest possession.

Also if you like Kicking for territory... At least KICK it OUT!

As for improving the NH teams.. Easy,, Stop making unforced errors.
 

admartian

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Throwing the ball around is not skill. Anyone can do that.
Yep - too bad that AUS and NZ do much much more than that. :)

Finding gaps, creativity with running lanes, innately elusive players are probably the main reasons as opposed to simply "throwing the ball around"... :rolleyes:
 

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Yep - too bad that AUS and NZ do much much more than that. :)Finding gaps, creativity with running lanes, innately elusive players are probably the main reasons as opposed to simply "throwing the ball around"... :rolleyes:
Yeah that is skill. One can not see most teams game plan by watching them attack. You can see it when they defend normally. NZ uses the counter. They force teams into kicking then run it down your throat. The Welsh believe in the low tackle and then compete for the ball on the ground. The rely on quick ball a lot. The Irish differ as they believe in keeping the guy up in the tackle trying to create turn overs as they are a team like Argentina who rely on building from set pieces. The difference between SH and NH mostly is that they are much more aggressive in defence basically.
 

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I dislike touch. You can get the exact same benefits from 7's and it also helps the out at the tackling too.

Many of the skills are transferable, but it takes a different approach to score tries without anyone laying a finger on you. Even in 7s there is room for guys to just smash through each other. You also can't just kick the ball away when under pressure, it has to be worked away with good handling and teamwork.

I think both versions of the sport have their merits and can benefit players of the 15 a side game.
 

big ginger 8

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The bad thing about tip is that you can't really use someone running a hard line like you would in a real match if the space and numbers aren't right it can get very lateral.

Fiji tip is a good game for working on offloading and support lines also great for fitness. If the same person gets tipped twice in possession or the ball hits the ground its a turnover. So you can get tipped once and offload. When you score you run it out towards the other line. Makes it very tiring.
 

welshglory

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Executing skills under pressure is one the NH's biggest problem and no one can deny that, no matter how one eyed you are.

Why this is or how we can change it is up for discussion.
 

Teh Mite

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Want to make rugby better? Simple... Concentrate on grass roots and work up instead of the other way around. Applies to the game worldwide.

Will never happen though with the old farts who run the game permanently ****** on gin (see: tossers like Francis Baron & Martyn Thomas), sucking down a huge pension pot for doing bugger all.
 

j'nuh

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In a few of the NH countries (England, France, Scotland), football is the number one sport, and there's little media attention towards rugby. I'd say I'm a pretty devoted rugby fan, but I only watched my first rugby (league) game at 16. I was 17 when I watched my first union game. (From what I gather, this isn't unusual for a rugby fan in England, but would someone from the SANZAR nations be able to hold off watching rugby for that long?) I could have gotten into the sport a lot earlier, but I had no one ever telling me I should give it a go (media or friends). I've only ever had three friends who have cared about rugby in some form. (So spontaneous rugby with friends is out of the question.)

I was a big kid. One of the tallest, definitely the heaviest. It would have taken a pack of kids to pull me down. (Then everyone went past me in puberty... not bitter at all.) Still, no one thought to give me a rugby ball and make me throw kids half my weight aside. I was put on a football pitch instead, and was crap. If I was born in NZ, someone would have forced me onto a rugby pitch when I was a kid and I might have actually been half-good.

In countries like England, a lot of people join the game at a much later age. Most physical development happens in puberty so the NH hasn't missed out on matching the SH physically. However, the SH has years more experience of ball handling skills. Smaller framed players in the SH have had years to develop their strength and other skills, whereas their English counterparts fear joining the game because they don't have the talent in other ways to make up for their feebleness. We could be missing out on the next Jason Robinson because he's too worried about all the boys being bigger than him. (This has certainly made me worried about playing the sport.)

We need to abandon creating a rugby-mad nation. Won't compete with football. Instead, create rugby hotbeds with the same kind of passion for rugby that you see in New Zealand. New Zealand has dominated rugby for most of the last decade with a population just a bit more than half that of London. I find it hard to believe that we'll struggle to turn a few regions containing about 5-6 million people into ardent rugby fans. Spreading talent out across a large area just means that talent gets isolated and lost. If, instead, you concentrate talent into pockets, then sports colleges can draw upon and develop the best. Hartpury college alone has developed Charlie Sharples, Jonny May, Henry Trinder, Alex Cuthbert, Dan Tuohy, Ryan Mills, Tom Savage and more.
 

big ginger 8

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Rugby is the fourth most popular sport in Ireland. Though we are a sport mad nation an most people play a few sports as kids but when it becomes more serious and you need to specialise when you reach your teens a lot of people will quit.
 

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From a skills perspective you really need to focus on developing basic skills at an early age and I didn't really see that in the schools/u16/u19 rugby I've watched in the UK. Admittedly it wasn't the greatest level, but still the lack of basic skills was shocking. Just stuff like backs crabbing across the pitch, poor passing etc etc A junior coach should be anally retentive about little things like getting players to straighten up, drum it in to young kids so it becomes second nature. I was watching some youtube videos of U15 Grays College (Bloemfontein?) and the skill level was fantastic, especially considering their age. I have to say however, especially in WA, the good weather conditions make it much easier to throw the ball around, put in long spin passes, I did find it more difficult in the UK in the wet and perhaps that is one factor that hinders skill development> That said it's rarely not raining in NZ! :D
 
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Is there something like a schools/provincial tournament in the UK?

Like in South Africa we have the U19 Craven week, which is this week in Port Elizabeth, where all the Provinces play in a week long tournament...

Then we have the U16 Grant Khomo week, and also the U13 Craven Week...
 

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There's a national cup competition, sponsored by the Daily Mail, but I'm not aware of any week long things like Craven Week.

Amusing name really.
 
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